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Abandoned Mascot

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For Bosko, that was all, folks.
Series Mascots are usually consistent for decades on end, however eventually many works or companies will replace their mascot. It's not uncommon to even go through multiple mascots throughout their lifespan.
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Why mascots get replaced varies. Sometimes the original mascot is too outdated and/or offensive, so they're replaced instead of redesigned. At other times, a new mascot is created for a retool, rebranding, or marketing change. Often times the old mascot is just outshined by a newer Breakout Character who ends up becoming the successor mascot. Replacing mascots is more common with advertisements than in other media, however this still pops up in various mediums.

This can be an example of Early Installment Weirdness if it happens early enough. Compare to Chuck Cunningham Syndrome, Demoted to Extra, and What Happened to the Mouse?.


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Examples:

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     Advertising 
  • GEICO has a tendency to hedge betting on their mascots' viability:
    • The GEICO Cavemen are likely the most famous example, having been a mascot to rival the gecko for a few years, getting a brief series for a half-season, and then disappearing without a trace.
    • Maxwell the Pig was last seen on June 11, 2014. He is presumed retired, as his only social media presence is run by fans.
  • Host Cereals:
    • Honeycomb rarely has a mascot, but when it did, it was the bizarre CGI character Crazy Craving. It lives on in peoples' memories, just not on the airwaves.
    • Back in the 1960s was the Honeycomb Kid. His fate was sealed with the demise of the Spaghetti Western.
  • Erin Esurance, a pink haired spy, was a mascot to the auto insurance company Esurance. She was used for several years in the 2000s. Erin was retired due to the company not liking all the Rule 34 and other less-than-family-friendly content based around her online.
  • While the long-running mascot for Lucky Charms is Lucky the Leprechaun, back in 1975 there was an alternate mascot called Waldo the Wizard. He was only seen in the New England section of the USA, and lasted less than a year.
  • McDonald's:
    • In the early years, McDonald's had a mascot named "Speedee", a chef-like character with a hamburger for a head. He was named for their fast, "Speedee Service System", and appeared primarily on signage. He was replaced by Ronald McDonald in 1967, presumably to avoid confusion with Alka-Seltzer's own "Speedy"; the book Chew On This, which chronicles the history of the fast food industry, quipped that McDonald's patrons probably didn't want to have to worry about taking Speedy's antacids right after eating Speedie's food.
    • The classic McDonaldland characters such as Birdie, Hamburglar, and Grimace were dropped in 2003, shortly after The Wacky Adventures Of Ronald Mc Donald was released. They were replaced with the "I'm lovin' it" campaign due to decreased popularity. Despite McDonaldland being discarded, the characters still appear in some of the kid's sections of restaurants. A Hotter and Sexier Hamburglar was briefly brought back in 2015 to promote a new burger.
    • In the 2010s McDonald's began to try and do away with Ronald McDonald due to the controversies surrounding the company marketing junk food towards children. He's been mostly replaced by an animated Happy Meal box for now.
  • Hostess snack cakes had an array of long-gone mascots, each of whom assumed the shape of their respective product. Twinkies had the cowboy-like Twinkie the Kid, Fruit Pies had Fruit Pie the Magician, and Hostess Cupcakes had a seafaring Captain Cupcake. Less prominent was the Robin Hood-like Happy Ho Ho, mascot for Hostess Ho Hos. But more complex was Ding-Dong's mascot, since the product was formerly known as King Dons and Big Wheels in different parts of the USA. There were the similar King Don and King Ding Dong (with at least one commercial the same, except the name), but for Big Wheels, you had a (stereotypical-looking) American Indian — Chief Big Wheel.
  • The Frito Bandito was the mascot for Fritos corn chips from 1967-1971. Most sources say that he was abandoned due to the obvious political incorrectness of the character, though others say that most Mexicans liked him (see also Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales).
  • ask.com used to have Jeeves. He has since been retired.
  • Quaker Cereals: Cap'n Crunch had a bunch of other mascots he shared the box with until the 80s. The cereals then dropped the secondary mascots and just kept the Cap'n. These would include Quisp & Quake, Wilma the Vanilla Whale, the Crunch Berry Beast, and the Soggies.
  • Ralston Purina —> General Mills:
    • Cookie Crisp went through a handful as well:
      • 70s, Cookie Jarvis the wizard was first.
      • 80s. Followed by Cookie Crook and Cookie Cop with Chip the Dog. Their shtick was that Cookie Crook and Chip's heists were always ruined because Chip would howl when he found the cereal, giving themselves away.
      • 90s, Followed by Chip the Dog by himself, howling the name of the cereal.
      • 2000s, Followed by Chip the Wolf who howls the name of the cereal.
      • 2000s, Followed by a new iteration of Chip the Wolf who no longer howls. His original design also wore a red hoodie and blue pants but the later version is naked.
      • In some countries, Chip is replaced with a panther mascot. No, really.
  • Throughout the 1970s, Milton the Toaster was the mascot for Kellogg's Pop Tarts toaster pastries.
  • Before Nesquik's Quicky was used worldwide, locals mascots were sometimes used, like Groquik until 1990. At one point, even Adam West was a mascot (as "Captain Quik")!
  • The bubble gum brand Malabar used Mr. Malabar until 2011, when he was replaced by Younger and Hipper cat Mabulle. He tends to be hated by nostalgics.
  • In 1973, Duracell's mascot was the Duracell Bunny. In the commercials featuring him, he was one of the many similar battery-operated drum-playing rabbits that ran on different batteries. One by one, the bunnies would wear down, except the one powered by the Duracell Battery. Although he continues to be used in Europe and Australia (and has long since moved on from drum-playing, instead participating in sporting events), Duracell failed to renew the US trademark, and as a result, lost it by 1989. A few years after the Energizer Bunny debuted in the US (with the original Energizer Bunny commercial being a Take That! to the Duracell Bunny commercials), Duracell introduced The Puttermans, an Uncanny Valley Robo Family whose advertising campaign lasted from 1994 to 1997.
  • In 1987, Energizer's mascot was Mark "Jacko" Jackson. His ad campaign lasted from 1987 to 1988 in the US, but was more popular in Australia, and lasted a few years longer there. In 1989, after Duracell failed to renew its US trademark of the Duracell Bunny, Energizer created the Energizer Bunny, whose original commercial was a Take That! to Duracell's commercials for comparing its batteries to zinc-carbon batteries and not similar alkaline batteries like Energizer, and the Bunny has been the American mascot for Energizer batteries ever since. In Europe and Australia, where the Duracell Bunny remains Duracell's mascot, Energizer's mascot is the Energizer Man, an anthropomorphic battery.
  • Fast food chain Jack In The Box used to have clown mascots (not so much specific characters as general theming), but got rid of them in 1980 (with explosives) in order to reposition themselves as a more mature brand. The concept returned as part of a rebranding in 1994, which introduced "Jack Box" as the company's high-powered CEO who just happens to have a giant clown head.
  • The Burger King used to be a stereotypical medieval monarch with a surrounding royal court, but was phased out in the 80's. The successor mascots for the kids' meals was the BK Kids Club Gang, a Five-Token Band; they were discontinued in 2005. Like with Jack, the King was later re-imagined as a more mature figure in 2004, only in the King's case it was done by making him unsettlingly weird. This version was retired in 2011 for being a little too weird, but the trope became subverted when he returned in 2015.
  • Hello, fellow readers! It's me, Coca-Cola's very own Sprite Boy... and no, I wasn't used to advertise the drink. That came out after I did. Instead, I was used to promote the whole idea that "Coca-Cola" and "Coke" were the same product. Then it all ended in 1958, because, you know... I wasn't needed anymore! And ever since then, my reputation has been a bit... well, unintended. note 
  • Some of the cigarette companies in the 1990s used cartoony mascots. Many, including the PSA Smoke Alarm: The Unfiltered Truth About Cigarettes, accused the companies of targeting children with their marketing. As a result, mascots like Joe Camel were eventually dropped.
  • In the 1980's, Domino's Pizza had the Noid, a humanoid creature whose purpose is to promote their 30 Minute Guarantee, where people were promised to receive their deliveries within a half-hour, otherwise they'd be charged less for it (or not at all, when the deal started out before the Noid's creation). The Noid, along with the deal, was retired when too many rushed deliveries resulted in accidents and lawsuits. In 2000, they had another short-lived mascot named Bad Andy, a mischievous monkey puppet who made things difficult for a group of characters dubbed the Domino's Crew (consisting of Jeff, Anthony, Carla, and the manager, Charlie). He was dropped after their 2001 Cinna Stix promotion.
  • In the 1980s, Buds Light beer had a mascot called Spuds MacKenzie. He was a cute dog in wacky commercials, so many people thought the company was trying to attract kids (it didn't help that there were plush toys of him). After a lot of negative press and legal trouble, Spud was abandoned.

     Film — Animation 
  • The tin soldier from the Tin Toy short was Pixar's first mascot. He was even going to have a Christmas Special at one point. Eventually he was phased out and replaced with the lamp on their Vanity Plate, Luxo Jr from the short Luxo Jr..
  • In-Universe with King and Boss in Isle of Dogs, for King was the star of twenty-two dog food commercials and Boss was the mascot of a high school baseball team before all the city's dogs were put on Trash Island.

    Live Action TV 
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     Sports 
  • The Golden State Warriors had starting in the mid-90s the superhero Thunder, who was even in the team logo. Then the Seattle franchise was relocated and renamed Oklahoma City Thunder, and for obvious reasons Thunder had to go.
  • The National Hockey League has three cases of abandoned but inherited mascots:
    • Youppi!, the orange-furred mascot of the Montreal Expos created by Muppet designer Bonnie Erickson, was sent his walking papers when the Expos moved to Washington, DC and became the Nationals. He was promptly picked up by the Montreal Canadiens.
    • The Arena Football League's New York Dragons played in the same Nassau Coliseum as the New York Islanders. Once the team folded, mascot Sparky the Dragon remained with the Islanders.
    • Winnipeg had the minor league Manitoba Moose. Once the beloved Winnipeg Jets returned, the Moose relocated but mascot Mick E. Moose stayed for the Jets. And in an amusing case, the Moose eventually came back, even playing in the same arena as their major league affiliate!

     Toys 
  • The mascot to My Little Pony changes each gen. In the original G1 line from the 1980s, Firefly was the unofficial mascot. G2 didn't have one due to being unpopular outside of Europe. Ever since G3, Pinkie Pie has been the mascot that is featured on most merchandise (being pink and bubbly, despite Twilight Sparkle being G4's main character).
  • Monster High initially positioned Frankie Stein as the face of the Franchise, with the first collectors doll being a variation of her signature look. However, that position got slowly taken over by Draculaura (who, like Pinkie Pie, was pink and bubbly). The 2016 reboot made it official and swapped out Frankie for Draculaura as the franchise's mascot.

     Video Games 
  • Sega:
    • Sega's first mascot was the ship from Fantasy Zone, Opa-Opa, however eventually it was replaced with the protagonist of Alex Kidd. Alex Kidd was an average platformer series however never became that successful, especially outside of Japan. For the Sega Mega Drive, Sega conceived a new mascot to go against Nintendo's Super Mario Bros.. Sonic the Hedgehog quickly replaced Alex Kidd and Sonic has been Sega's mascot ever since. Alex has appeared in a few cameo roles over the years but hasn't received a new game since the Mega Drive era.
    • Opa-Opa was Sega's first official mascot, but their first unofficial mascot was Professor Asobin, a Funny Animal rabbit who showed up in manuals for SG-1000 games to offer advice to the players. He was later replaced with Alex Kidd as well.
  • Microsoft intended for Blinx to be their mascot for their new Xbox franchise of gaming consoles. Blinx was a cute Mascot with Attitude cat meant to attract younger gamers. The game however ended up bombing. Blinx was a Stillborn Franchise with only one sequel. The Xbox's flagship title instead ended up being Halo, with its main character Master Chief becoming the Xbox mascot. Master Chief helped solidify the view of Xbox as a console for older audiences, in contrast to Sony's and especially Nintendo's more family-friendly images.
  • Unlike its competition, the Playstation brand doesn't have a concrete mascot (baring a Japanese-only cat mascot). It instead has a series of popular characters who all work as mascots, some official and some unofficially. Most of these mascots only last a few years before being demoted:
    • Crash Bandicoot was the Playstation's answer to Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog. He was an incredibly popular character in both western countries and Japan (a rare feat for a western character) and was created as a Kid-Appeal Character to get younger gamers to buy a Playstation. Crash's time as a mascot only lasted a few years though. Naughty Dog lost their rights to the franchise right when the Playstation 2 was being released. Crash Bandicoot became a multiplat series afterwards before fading after the release of Mind Over Mutant in 2008. It was revived in the 2010s but is still multiplat.
    • Spyro the Dragon came out a few years after Crash and shared its status as a mascot, albeit to a far lesser degree. Similarly to Crash Bandicoot, it only lasted three main titles under its creators before they moved on due to wanting to make a main character who could use guns. It became mutiplat and eventually faded after the The Legend of Spyro Continuity Reboot, with only cameos in Skylanders (which was conceived as a Spyro MMO before becoming a separate franchise) afterwards, until Spyro Reignited Trilogy revived it.
    • Lara Croft of Tomb Raider fame was largely seen as a Playstation mascot, however the first title was actually multiplat. It was only after a deal to make the next few games exclusive to Playstation that it gained a reputation as a Playstation mascot. This status as a mascot lasted until the main titles began releasing on non-Playstation platforms, along with the decline in the series' popularity.
    • Parappa The Rapper was a brightly coloured, kid-friendly rhythm title. It received a spinoff, a sequel on the PS2, and even an anime but couldn't quite become the main Playstation mascot. Despite the fact he hasn't had a new title in years (bar rereleases), Parappa pops up every once in a while nevertheless, such as appearing in Playstation All Stars Battle Royale.
    • LittleBigPlanet's protagonist, Sackboy, was the mascot of the Playstation 3 but dropped off with the Playstation 4.
    • Knack was a failed attempt at a mascot for the PS4. The game didn't have a positive enough reception to become popular.
    • The character of Captain Blasto, from the game Blasto, was being set up by Sony to be a potential mascot after his game was released on the original Playstation. Despite the game's lukewarm reception, the character himself was well-liked, given he was voiced by comedian Phil Hartman, who was also the head creative. Sony already green-lit a sequel and plans for a cartoon and merchandise. However, this ended up being a very heartbreaking example of this trope, as Hartman's infamous death occurred two months after the game's release. Since Hartman was an influential part of the game and the character, the developers felt there was no point in making a franchise without him and cancelled those plans, so Captain Blasto's time as a mascot ended before it truly began.
  • Pokémon's original mascot is assumed to have been intended to be Clefairy. Pikachu, a more gender-neutral but equally cute character, however ended up surpassing it as the mascot at the last minute. Ash in the Pokémon anime was intended to receive a Clefairy starter but ended up with a Pikachu instead. Red from the Pocket Monsters manga (the longest-running adaptation of the series) owns both a Clefairy and a Pikachu as a reference to how Clefairy was the original mascot.
  • K.K. Slider was the original mascot of Animal Crossing franchise. The fourth title, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, introduced the protagonist's secretary, Isabelle. Isabelle quickly became a Breakout Character and surpassed K.K. Slider as the series' mascot, though he is still prominently featured in merchandising. Both K.K. and Isabelle are Funny Animal dog characters, but Isabelle is cuter and quirkier.
  • Capcom had various mascots during its history:
    • The first one was Captain Commando, (note that the first three letters of each word forms the word "CapCom"), from the game Captain Commando as well as the NES game Section Z. He has gone on to appear in many of Capcom's fighting games, including Marvel vs. Capcom. Mega Man is now considered to be Capcom's mascot, because of the large amount of games in the franchise and the popularity of the franchise. Ryu, from Street Fighter, could also be considered one of Capcom's mascots, but he is more thought of as the face of the Street Fighter franchise.
    • The Yashichi is an item that appears in many of Capcom's games. Usually, it acts as health restoration or a power-up. It is a red circle that has something resembling a pinwheel on it. The Yashichi was first in Capcom's very first game, Vulgus, as an enemy, and has gone on to appear in Mega Man and many other games (albeit with a more helpful role).

     Western Animation 
  • Walt Disney started out with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit as his first flagship animated character. Oswald was on his way to becoming an iconic cartoon character like Felix the Cat, however Disney lost the rights to Oswald after creating only a few shorts for him. Oswald continued to have shorts written by others however they weren't as popular as Disney's and Oswald was discontined by the 1940s. After Disney lost the rights to Oswald and his wife Ortensia he created two Suspiciously Similar Substitutes, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. They were hits and would soon eclipse Owald and Ortensia. Mickey ended up becoming the most iconic cartoon character within a few decades. Almost a century after Walt Disney lost the rights to Oswald, the Disney company brought him back and revived him with the video game Epic Mickey. He, his wife, and their many children have appeared in cameos since then, and are even characters at Disney theme parks.
  • Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes series went through a series of mascots to counter Disney's aforementioned Mickey. The early shorts first introduced Bosko, a similar blackface style Everyman character, though, like Oswald, creators and rights led to the character being traded to a rival animation company, MGM. The later character, Beans the Cat was intended to be the next attempt at a mascot, but his sidekick Porky Pig trounced him in popularity. Porky's mascot status lasted for a while until the staff eventually conceived a smartalec Karmic Trickster by the name of Bugs Bunny, who quickly surpassed Porky in popularity and became the face for Looney Tunes from there on out.
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